This amazing interactive map shows you which cheese to pair with which wine

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Moya Crockett
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Here’s a quick test for you: what type of wine goes best with a slab of cheddar?

A)    A Pinot Noir

B)     A white Burgundy

C)     A California Cabernet Sauvignon

D)    An Alsatian Riesling

If you answered, “Well, obviously the white Burgundy”, then congratulations: you are clearly already a cheese and wine expert, and have no need for this article.

But if your response was more along the lines of, “Erm… All of them?”, then you might want to read on.

A Canadian computer whizz has developed an incredible interactive map designed to help foodies discover exactly which wines go best with their favourite cheese and vice versa, Konbini reports.

Some 100 red and white wines and 270 different types of cheese are listed on the Wine and Cheese Map, which was devised by Gary Bader, a specialist in molecular genetics and professor in computational biology at the University of Toronto.  

Simply type in the name of a cheese or wine into the search bar, and you’re presented instantly with a map of all the different pairings that would work, as well as other similar cheeses and wines to your original search.

Over 1,000 different combinations are possible, with options ranging from the broad and everyday – think Camembert and Chardonnay – to the specific and impressively niche (anyone for a slice of Winchester Aged Gouda, accompanied by a glass of Amarone della Valpolicella?).

Professor Bader said that his wife gave him the idea of using Cytoscape technology – a programme usually used in scientific research to find relationships between large numbers of data points – to pair cheese and wine.

She pointed out that the information in a book she was reading, Max McCalman and David Gibbons’ Cheese: A Connoisseur’s Guide to the World’s Best, was essentially a dataset that could be plugged into Cytoscape.

“The app helps you identify cheeses that you might not know about and wines that you might not know about and how they go together,” Professor Bader told CBC Toronto’s Metro Morning.

“Basically, you can search for a red wine or a white wine, click on it, it will show you a network of relationships, kind of like a spider web of connections. Click on a cheese and it will show you red and white wines that connect to it.

“Or if you click on a wine, like Beaujolais, it will tell you that it’s really nice with cheddar or specific types of Swiss cheeses.”

If you’d like to play around with the wondrous Wine and Cheese Map, you can do so here.  But of course, some people dispute that cheese and wine are really a match made in heaven at all.

Food expert Rachel Safko recently claimed that the best drink to pair with everyone’s favourite dairy foodstuff is actually… tea.

“Like wine, teas have varying degrees of tannin along with a natural astringency: a dryness and feeling that isn't quite bitter or sour, but more like the pleasant tartness and pucker you might get from tasting a lemon or pomegranate.

“Cheese – in its infinite glory – offers a nice balance to that astringency,” she said.


Images: iStock, Wine and Cheese Map